Top 20 food trends for 2017

by Kimberlie Clyma
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The National Restaurant Association identified new cuts of meat, such as shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak and Merlot cut, as the top menu trend for 2017.
Under the Protein category, new cuts of meat, sustainable seafood, house-made sausage, free-range pork or poultry and heritage-breed meats were the top trends. (All photos: National Restaurant Association)
 

WASHINGTON – New cuts of meat topped the list of Top 20 food trends resulting from the National Restaurant Association’s annual “What’s Hot” survey of American Culinary Federation (ACF) chefs. The NRA surveyed 1,298 ACF members in October to find out their thoughts about the food and beverage trends at restaurants in 2017.The members were asked to rate 169 menu items as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite” for 2017.

“Menu trends today are beginning to shift from ingredient-based items to concept-based ideas, mirroring how consumers tend to adapt their activities to their overall lifestyle philosophies, such as environmental sustainability and nutrition,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the NRA. “Also among the top trends for 2017, we’re seeing several examples of house-made food items and various global flavors, indicating that chefs and restaurateurs are further experimenting with from-scratch preparation and a broad base of flavors.”

House-made charcuterie is the number 4 food trend for 2017.
Chefs and restaurateurs continue experimenting with from-scratch preparation and a broad base of flavors.
 

The top 20 food trends were:

  1. New cuts of meat, such as shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak and Merlot cut
  2. Street food-inspired dishes, such as tempura, kabobs, dumplings and pupusas
  3. Healthful kids' meals
  4. House-made charcuterie
  5. Sustainable seafood
  6. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items, such as chorizo scrambled eggs and coconut milk pancakes
  7. House-made condiments
  8. Authentic ethnic cuisine
  9. Heirloom fruit and vegetables
  10. African flavors
  11. Ethnic spices, such as harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout and shichimi
  12. House-made sausage
  13. House-made pickles
  14. Ancient grains, such as kamut, spelt, amaranth and lupin
  15. House-made/artisan ice cream
  16. Whole grain items in kids' meals
  17. Protein-rich grains/seeds, such as hemp, chia, quinoa and flax
  18. Artisan cheeses
  19. Savory desserts
  20. Gourmet items in kids' meals

Street food-inspired dishes, such as dumplings, will be a major food trend in 2017, according to the National Restaurant Association.
 

The survey also identified the Top 10 concept trends that will be found in restaurants in 2017.

  1. Hyper-local sourcing, such as restaurant gardens, onsite beer brewing and house-made items
  2. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
  3. Natural ingredients/clean menus
  4. Environmental sustainability
  5. Locally sourced produce
  6. Locally sourced meat and seafood
  7. Food waste reduction
  8. Meal kits, such as pre-measured/prepped raw ingredients for home preparation
  9. Simplicity/back to basics
  10. Nutrition

National Restaurant Association said African flavors is a top-10 food trend for 2017.
Thomas Macrina, national president of the American Culinary Federation, said culinary professionals are at the forefront of changing the culinary landscape.
 

“Chefs are on an endless quest to redefine how consumers eat,” said ACF National President Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC. “By masterfully transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, culinary professionals are at the forefront of changing the culinary landscape.”

The results of the survey also showed top trends by category. The categories included Protein, Restaurant Concepts and Culinary Concepts, to name a few.

Under the Protein category, new cuts of meat, sustainable seafood, house-made sausage, free-range pork or poultry and heritage-breed meats were the top trends. Under Restaurant Concepts, chef-driven fast-casual concepts, food waste reduction, meal kits, pop-up or temporary restaurants and food trucks topped the list. And, under Culinary Concepts hyper-local sourcing, natural ingredients and clean menus, environmental sustainability, locally sourced products and locally sourced meat and seafood were outlined as the top trends. 

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